La forma y suerte que esta en su sanctuario”: Hybridity, Materiality, and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Extremadura Open Access

Corrigan, Nicole (Fall 2017)

Permanent URL:


In the early fourteenth century, a humble cowherd was led by a miraculous vision to uncover a small Black Madonna statue just outside the town of Cáceres in Extremadura. According to documents found with the statue, she had been buried to save her from the oncoming conquest of the Muslims in 711. Almost immediately, a shrine was set up to Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, and over the course of the next two centuries, her cult rapidly expanded as she performed countless miracles, aiding Christians in the battles of the Reconquista, converting Muslims, and freeing Christians held captive in Morocco. Her identity was constantly framed in relation to her interactions with Muslims; she was firmly enmeshed within the multicultural and multiconfessional landscape of medieval Iberia. Drawing on recent scholarship on hybridity, particularly as it relates to the unique case of Spain, I show how the Black Madonna of Guadalupe mediated between the Christian and Islamic populations of al-Andalus The statue’s original twelfth-century appearance, its black skin, the accumulation of finery over the centuries, and Guadalupe’s miraculous origins and intercessions, I argue, allowed her to fill many contradictory roles and cross between the boundaries of Christian and Muslim communities. She could simultaneously act as a warrior against Islam and work as a model for black Muslims to draw them into the fold of the true faith. She was both the Queen of Heaven and the Muslim Other enveloped in Christian finery. While Christians deployed the statue with the goal of uniting the peninsula under Christian hegemony, what resulted was a cult figure that was synthetic, subversive, and unsettled.

Table of Contents

Introduction, 1

Convivencia and Hybridity, 4

The Legend, 7

The Statue, 10

“Un arte sencillo, bastante tosco,” 11

Queen of Heaven, Queen of al-Andalus,15

“Nigra sum, sed formosa,” 21

Bibliography, 32

About this Master's Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files